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Bettman: League will look at rules after Emery-Holtby goalie fight

By Brian Stubits | Hockey writer

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The brawl that broke out between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night involved Flyers goalie Ray Emery skating the length of the ice and pounding on Caps goalie Braden Holtby.

While everybody seems to enjoy a good goalie fight, that one wasn't so much of a fight, more like a mugging. It didn't sit well with a lot of people as college Chris Peters pointed out. The fact that Emery said after the game he told Holtby to try and protect himself because he had no choice but to fight made it look all the worse.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wasn't thrilled with it either. He noted to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch when discussing the upcoming All-Star Game in Columbus that as far as any additional discipline for Emery, there wasn't a whole lot the league could do. Perhaps that will change soon enough.

"We constantly monitor and look at the game," Bettman said. "There was no rule that was violated to elevate things to the level of a suspension. It's something we'll continue to discuss.

"I don't think anybody liked it, liked what it looked like. Fortunately it's not something that happens very often. But I'm sure it's something we'll focus on, particularly with the general managers."

While it sounds good in theory, what can the league really do? Does the instigator penalty that so many people already despise become subject to supplemental discipline? Does the league make goalies crossing center ice something that's suspendable?

Point is, it would be difficult to find some kind of middle ground there where Emery could theoretically be accountable for more discipline for something like that in the future without drastic measures. It's especially difficult because there is no deying the popularity of goalie fights in hockey; they're rare and always get a massive response.

Bettman also talked about the apparent increase in suspensions for hits to the head this season, but that's a result of the league getting tougher on eradicating head shots from the game, saying the NHL is "effectuating a change."

 
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